Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What I Read in October Part III . . .

What I Read in October Part III . . .

The Secret BluestockingThe Secret Bluestocking by Eileen Jackson -- Regency Romance

Miss Emma Waring is beautiful and clever; a writer of of serial romance stories, Emma knows she must hide her talents or she'll never find a husband. Her Mama and Nurse have drummed that into her head her whole life. When her great-aunt Lady Augusta Brancaster arrives at the parsonage with her niece, Miss Lucy Venables, to take Emma to London for her Season, Emma realizes more than ever must she hide her intelligence. She encounters Lord Kinvers, a handsome, cynical rake whose exploits are well known, and she instantly dislikes him. Attemtping to play the empty-headed coquette, Emma attracts Kinver's notice and they share a searing, passionate kiss. Emma is horrified and shocked and vows to avvoid Kinver at all costs. That's easier said than done when he comes calling on Lucy. The unflappable, serene Lucy is exactly the sort of wife Kinver needs. She's nothing like the sensual Miss Waring who stirs his blood. If only she were not a lady! He leaves the courting of Miss Waring to his newly wealthy friend James Exford. Emma knows she must accept Exford's offer if he makes one, for it will help her family. She is feeling the pressure from her unscrupulous publisher and his villanous clerk and her brother's gambling debts, not to mention the angst of trying to hide her intelligence. When a villain threatens to expose her biggest secret, she knows she'll be ruined and her family will suffer. Can she allow that to happen? If she married Exford will he stand by her? Will he allow her to write? Why does she feel so much for a certain rakish gentleman whose kisses burn in her memory?

This story had potential but as it is based on deciet, it doesn't' begin well and it doesn't turn out well until way too late. It's not at all Georgette Heyer's Sylvester, unfortunately. The plot has way too much going on and the book is too long. The romance doesn't really work for me. The hero and heroine spend more time kissing than really getting to know each other. They both make intferances about the other based on what they're told and what they observe but all their interactions are lies and lust. There are too many unrelated villans to complicate the plot and a subplot romance involving Lucy. The author lost track of her story and rushed it at the end. Though this story is technically kisses only, it's not what I would call "sweet" and the kissing is somewhat passionate. The book wouldn't rate subtle sensuality on the All About Romance scale but it's more than sweet so I am not marking it kisses only.

I didn't like Emma. She's not a true bluestocking or she wouldn't care so much about hiding her intelligence. There's nothing to indicate she's a bluestocking. She happens to be clever and a good writer but that doesn't make her a bluestocking. I cringed every time she opened her mouth in front of Kinver. I liked Lucy much better. She's confident in who she is and what she wants. Of course she's secure in her position but I think her wealth is incidential and she would be the same no matter what. I loved her interactions with her Grandmama. She actually adds some humor to the plot. I did not like Kinver. We're told he was hurt by his mother's past behavior (she's apparently a nymphomaniac?!) and he's cynical because of it but there's not much from his point-of-view so we don't really get to know him. I just didn't feel anything for him. He spends a lot of time lusting after Emma but comes too late to the truths. Exford is a better man but not very bright or sensitive. I liked him better than Kinver for the most part.

A Noble RogueA Noble Rogue by Nancy Lawrence-- Regency Romance

Miss Sara Brandon-Howe returns home from school to find the house in disarray: the servants have left over lack of payment and a temperamental Frenchman is tearing up the kitchen and making the only maid left cry. Sara quickly takes charge of the situations and means to clear matters up with her brother, Philip. Philip, Lord Carville, is an point-non-plus. He's eager to keep up with the London swells but doesn't have the money. He's currently entertaining two of them, Lord Hetherington and Hugh Deverill, until a big card game in Bath when Philip hopes to win back his fortune. Until then, Sara must pose as the housekeeper to save face. Hugh "Devil" Deverill finds the housekeeper very pretty and charming and decides it will amuse him to seduce her. The more time he spends in her company, the more he's convinced she isn't who she says she is. She blushes like a schoolgirl, dresses like a lady and is on intimate terms with prosy Lord Westbury. For some reason this chit brings out a tender side of himself he's never realized he had. For Sara, an innocent flirtation brings flutters to her heart and blushes to her cheeks. Everyone tells her Devereill is a rogue not to be trusted. She knows he's going away soon and thinks she can withstand his flirtations until then - or can she?

Ugh, ugh and more ugh. I'm all for a reformed rake story and a Pride and Prejudice type story but this one doesn't even come close to approaching good. Sara is so young and innocent, she has no idea what Hugh is up to or the danger he poses to her. I can not like a hero who sets out in cold blood to seduce a woman because he's bored and he assumes she's more than a servant to Philip. "Oh he won't mind and neither will the girl," Hugh tells himself. He's also a gamester who "fleeces gulls" and the reader is supposed to like him. He has some good qualities but Sara never knows all he's done for her. We learn about it from his valet but that's never communicated to Sara. The ending is so incredibly bad and yet obvious in his intentions, I failed to enjoy it. The characters never really get to know each other and there's no indication of how Hugh can support a wife. Is he independently wealthy or does he make a living as an ivory turner or somesuch? Who is he really? We never really know and neither does Sara. He has his moments of tenderness, to be sure, but it's not enough to make him appealing. Sara is just too naive to be appealing. She's stubborn when she shouldn't be and she can be as whiny and selfish as her brother at times.

Don't waste your time reading this. It was free through but I still wouldn't recommend it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave comments and or suggestions for QNPoohBear, the modern bluestocking.